DURHAM, N.H. -- Mike Ayers (Hingham, Mass.) made 19 saves to record his fifth shutout of the season and 13th of his career to lift the 10th-ranked University of New Hampshire hockey team to Saturday night's 1-0 victory against Providence College at the Whittemore Center in Game 3 of the best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series. UNH won the series 2-1 to advance to the March 19 semifinals at the FleetCenter for the third consecutive year.
UNH, seeded fourth in the tourney, reached the 20-win mark for the eighth consecutive season by improving to 20-13-6 overall. The Wildcats will face third-seeded UMass in a semifinal matchup and the 'Cats went 1-1-1 vs. the Minutemen this season. PC, which forced a decisive third game with a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 2, ends the season at 16-14-7.
With the win, Ayers broke the school record for career victories with his 58th. He surpassed the benchmark of 57 established by Ty Conklin (1998-2001).
Following two scoreless first periods, Preston Callander (Regina, Sask.) scored what proved to be the only goal of the game when he redirected a centering pass from Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Man.) into the open left side of the net. Nathan Martz (Chilliwack, B.C.) was also credited with an assist.
PC called time out with 1:26 remaining in regulation and pulled goaltender Bobby Goepfert (26 saves) with 41 seconds to play. The Friars could not sustain pressure, however, and did not get a shot on goal the rest of the way.
UNH generated a 10-9 shot advantage in the first period and both teams recorded six shots in the middle stanza. In the second period, PC's Stephen Wood fired a wrist shot from the right circle into the net, but the Friars were whistled for obstruction interference to negate the shot.
Both teams were denied by the left post in the third period. Seven minutes into the stanza, Callander beat Goepfert from the right circle but the puck caromed off the left post. Two minutes later, PC's Chase Watson fired a shot from the high slot that ricocheted off the post into the left corner.